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Sun European Partners buys into plumbing turnaround

UK regional turnaround specialist Endless has called in the bigger firepower of US fund Sun Capital, through its European arm to co-invest in Pearl Fittings, a manufacturer and supplier of plumbing fittings.

Endless, a regional UK turnaround firm, has sold a majority stake in Pearl Fittings, a plumbing fittings business, to an affiliate of Sun European Partners, an adviser to US turnaround specialists Sun Capital, for an undisclosed sum. 

The terms of the transaction will include a cash payment to Endless and a cash injection into Pearl Fittings.

Endless bought the business in March this year and retains a significant minority stake. According to Warwick Ley, an investment director with the firm, Pearl had invested heavily in a number of projects and had over-committed itself.

He said: “It is a market leading business, number one or two in its markets. There is a lot of restructuring potential with margin and cost improvements across the group. Sun tapped into that strategy.”

Pearl’s turnover in 2006 will be approximately £120 million, up from £80 million at the time of Endless’s acquisition largely on the back of rising copper prices.

Endless is a private investment vehicle based in Leeds and Manchester, focusing on regional buyouts and turnarounds. Since its launch in December 2005, Endless has completed 15 transactions, with the sale of a majority stake in Pearl representing its third divestment.

Sun European Partners has invested in four deals before Pearl, including Lee Cooper, the jean brand. It most recently sold its investment in LDV, a UK van manufacturer, to GAZ, a Russian automotive group.